Ounce of Prevention | Cheers to a healthier 2017
January is a great month for making changes. More people start changing for the better in early January than at any other time of the year. Making a positive step or two in the right direction is a wonderful way to begin the year. Some of us are fortunate enough to have our resolutions develop into lasting and even permanent change. Unfortunately, for the majority of individuals, new year's resolutions do not last, or they may never even get started.
Right now, write a comprehensive plan. Most successful businesses start with a business plan that describes their mission and specifies on how they will achieve it. Write your own personal plan and you'll be more likely to succeed as well.
Action often precedes motivation, not the other way around. People often think that they should wait until they are motivated to start doing something good for themselves. They'll say, 'I'll start that diet or fitness programme when I'm really well rested and have a lot of energy'.
But it may not work that way. Instead of waiting for inspiration to act on your goals, you need to take action first and inspiration will follow. Your initial action doesn't have to be anything big. Just by putting on your sneakers and walking for 10 minutes, you will make that energy you are 'waiting' for materialise.
Once you initiate an action - the smallest of actions - you pick up momentum, and it will be a lot easier to keep moving forward and stay motivated.
TAKE SMALL STEPS
Set realistic goals that are attainable and then take small steps that are likely to succeed, toward those goals. Don't decide that you must lose 10 pounds in a week or that you have to quit smoking without help. Instead, join a weight-loss programme and aim to lose a pound or two a week, or seek professional help with smoking cessation.
USE YOUR SPIRITUALITY
Because we are body, mind and spirit, it is important to add a spiritual dimension to your goals. This includes recognising the availability of a higher power that can strengthen and support us in our efforts. This is the first step in the highly successful 12-step programmes used to overcome addictions.
Identify a spiritual support system that works for you and tap into it. Prayer, faith and affirmations are powerful tools.
Conquer the bulge - The World Health Organization has described obesity as the world's major epidemic. As over 60 per cent of adult Jamaicans are overweight or obese, it is not surprising that weight loss is one of the most popular new year's resolutions. Using a sensible programme, setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the most important factors in succeeding with weight loss.
To aid and support all those who want to lose excess weight, and /or improve their nutrition, our team of weight-loss consultants are available all over the island.
Get fit - The medical proof for fitness is everywhere. Regular exercise is now associated with more health benefits than during any other period in man's history. Studies show that improved fitness reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.
Spend more time with family and friends - Recent polls in the United States show that more than 50 per cent of people vow to appreciate loved ones more and to spend more time with family and friends in the coming year. I believe that a renewed commitment to the family and the community by of all of us is an important factor in solving the problem of crime and violence in our country.
Quit smoking - Make this the year that you decide to stamp out your smoking habit. It is the leading preventable cause of premature death. Even if you've tried to quit before and failed, don't let it get you down.
On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life. I will be offering smoking cessation classes to help you kick the smoking habit.
Don't abuse alcohol - While many people use the new year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey, but do much better when they have group support.
If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available. Alcoholics Anonymous offers meetings around Jamaica.
Seek financial freedom - Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the host of people who have resolved to spend this coming year getting a handle on their finances. It's a promise that will repay itself many times over in the years ahead. My team offers monthly success training seminars (STSs) that teach a simple plan to financial success.
Learn something new - Have you ever decided to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to use your computer?
Whether you take a course or read a book, you'll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating. It is never too late to be a student. Many local schools, colleges and universities offer evening, distance and adult-education programmes.
Help others - Charity, a great unselfish new year's resolution, can take many forms. You can choose to spend time mentoring a child, or visiting a home for the elderly.
There are many non-profit volunteer organisations that could really use your help. Or if your time is really in short supply, maybe you can at least find it in you to give away the furniture, clothing and other household items that you no longer need, rather than dump them in the garbage.